NEWS: Shandwick drops Mellor as Nolan debate hots up

Shandwick has ended its relationship with David Mellor MP after two years, ahead of a crucial House of Commons vote on the implementation of the Nolan report.

Shandwick has ended its relationship with David Mellor MP after two

years, ahead of a crucial House of Commons vote on the implementation of

the Nolan report.



Shandwick decided not to renew its contract with Mellor at the end of

October. Managing director of Shandwick UK Colin Trusler said he wanted

to ‘stand clear’ of the current debate over links between MPs and multi-

client consultancies - which Nolan has recommended should be banned. He

said Mellor would still advise the agency on an ad hoc basis.



The Select Committee on Standards in Public Life, whose report on the

practical implementation of Nolan is due to be debated in the Commons on

Monday, has in fact rejected a complete ban on multi-client

consultancies. Instead it has opted for a ban on paid advocacy work for

any client, leaving MPs free to provide advice.



Whatever the result of the vote, it appears many PR firms have already

cut their links with MPs.



Fleishman-Hillard ended its arrangement with Charles Hendry MP at the

beginning of August, though Hendry continues to provide advice on an ad

hoc basis. Financial PR firm Gavin Anderson parted company with its MP,

Nigel Forman, in June also on ‘commercial grounds’.



Meanwhile Taskforce Communications founders Patrick Robertson and Gerald

Howarth MP cited Nolan as the reason for their decision to wind up the

company in September. ‘We believe Nolan will be adopted in large part,

and felt it was prudent to wind up the business,’ said Robertson, who

now trades as Robertson and Associates.



Other agencies, however, are holding fire until after the crucial Nolan

debate.



Hill and Knowlton’s head of public affairs Edward Bickham said the

agency saw no reason to change its relationship with retained consultant

Michael Jopling MP - due to retire at the next election - ‘until such

time as the House of Commons makes up its mind that different rules

apply’.



Lowe Bell Communications and The Communication Group have also adopted a

‘wait and see’ approach.



Meanwhile, the House of Lords has been looking at links between peers

and outside interests. The Griffiths Committee’s report, which includes

the suggestion that a register of interests be set up for the Lords, was

due to be debated on Wednesday night.



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